7th Loyola Cup (U-16): Aggressive Vidya Bhavan pip Hutchings to earn first victoryDecember 22, 2019, Pune
The two teams with no wins in Group A of the 7th Loyola Cup (u-16) – Vidya Bhavan High School and Hutchings High School – locked horns in a feisty affair at the Loyola football ground on Saturday.
Five Vidya Bhavan players were booked for their reckless tackles. With knock-out qualification out of contention, both sides were desperate to register their first win in the tournament. The first half of the well-balanced encounter ended 1-1. Vidya Bhavan took the lead with their first attack in the second half and sealed their victory at the very end.
The victory proved nothing more than a morale booster for the Vidya Bhavan side as JN Petit High School and St Vincent’s High School have confirmed their qualification for the knock-out stage. Petit and Vincent’s will go toe-to-toe on Sunday. The side which emerges victorious in the summit clash will claim the top spot of Group A.
The wait for the first goal of the match ended inside five minutes when Vidya Bhavan winger, Aaron Fernandes, managed to overpower his marker and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net to give his side the lead in the 3rd minute. Hutchings almost responded with a goal, but were let down by poor finishing. Both teams deployed and followed an attacking game plan which made the game quite open and spectators witnessed an end-to-end game.
As numerous attacks were being dealt with by both sets of defenders, Hutchings won a free-kick 30-yards away from the Vidya Bhavan goal in the central part of the pitch. Midfielder Abhyuday Rathord stood over the set-piece before smashing the ball over the wall and the keeper, into the goal to restore parity. The Vidya Bhavan defenders were left frustrated as they expected keeper Gavin Lobo to handle the ball comfortably.
While Vidya Bhavan were posing a major threat from open play, they were conceding free-kicks near their own box after committing clumsy and needless fouls. Hutchings won two free-kicks on the left flank in the first half. Rathord was able to lob promising crosses into the box on both occasions, but the Vidya Bhavan defenders were the first ones to pounce on the incoming deliveries.
On the counter, Atharva Sargar had a glorious opportunity to push his side into the lead again, but the teenager failed to pull the trigger in time and was muscled off the ball by the back-tracking Hutchings’ defenders. Emulating Sargar’s effort, Kshitij Kokate was the next player who waited too long to pass or shoot. The youngster skipped past three defenders effortlessly, but failed to smash a cross in towards his teammate before he was dispossessed by the defenders.
Vidya Bhavan started building up straight from kick-off in the second half. A cross-field ball managed to find its way to Shreyash Jagtap on the left flank. Jagtap paced down the wing and curled a sublime ball into the Hutchings box where striker Aryan Rane tucked the ball into the net as Vidya Bhavan took the lead again. The Hutchings defence recovered well after conceding the goal and were able to ward off the attacks which followed.
The scales tipped in favour of Vidya Bhavan in the second half as they launched four consecutive attacks on the Hutchings goal. Siddharth Sheiar came perilously close to extending Vidya Bhavan’s lead as he received the ball on the edge of the box after the Hutchings defenders cleared a corner. Sheiar brought the ball down nicely, and tried to place his volley into the top-right corner, but his shot flew just over the crossbar.
Midway through the second half, Vidya Bhavan were all over Hutchings, launching a barrage of attacks. The chances failed to manifest into goals as Vidya Bhavan were let down by poor finishing. Daksh Desai, Harshvardhan Dhumle and Kshitij Kokate managed to dribble past the Hutching defenders with ease, but failed to play the final pass and their efforts were eventually thwarted by the recovering defenders.